Sad to leave the Coromandel Peninsula, we drove out over the gravelled 309 road and along the western side of the peninsula.
We came to a joint conclusion that although still beautiful, around Whitianga had much better beaches and more interesting coastline. stopping for a hilltop coffee from a van, to take in the views.
And then an unplanned final meet up with Granny & Grandad in a cafe in Thames, where Evie was spoilt and bought some maracas!
Out of the beautiful Coromandel and on through Auckland…. except…..
….. the traffic slowed and the Volvo did not like it.
Taking an emergency break, we found ourselves close to Auckland Botanic Gardens, and so spent a couple of hours there. New for botanical gardens, they had a children’s garden (but not play area)
As well as nice rose gardens, the biggest rubber plant tree I have ever seen in my life, an impressive visitors centre and some funky sculptures.
Finally we decided to try the car again. It wasn’t a very happy car but it did start and drive.
It being quite late in the day by now, seeing a sign on the road for some food, we pulled off at Puhoi, an old hamlet of a town, and happened across Puhoi pub’s annual log cutting championship!! And what a festivity it was!
One of those randomly cool places that you don’t plan upon.
Onwards in the limping car, we did stop at a view point looking over Whangarei and the Whangarei Heads.
Stunning…… and yes, with careful teasing by Tim, the Volvo got us there…. just!